It's no secret that the time gap between albums by guitarist Eric Johnson is on par with such notorious 'hibernators' as Boston. And the arrival of his fourth all-new studio release, Bloom, was no different, as it appeared nearly nine years after the release of 1996's Venus Isle. Whereas most guitar heroes of the late '80s and early '90s were all about reeling off a zillion notes per second, Johnson was the exception, as he penned songs that saw his guitar supplying the melody where a voice could have been. This 16-track release (his second for Steve Vai's Favored Nations label) is split into three separate sections -- 'Prelude,' 'Courante,' and 'Allemande' -- which are supposedly "grouped together in terms of vibe and style." Highlights include "Summer Jam" (which does a splendid job of showcasing his guitar tone), the chicken'-pickin' ditty "Tribute to Jerry Reed," and the almost Steely Dan-esque "Magnetized." If you like your sounds raw and gritty and music off-the-cuff, Bloom isn't the place for you. But for die-hard fans, Johnson delivers once more, as all his trademarks are well represented -- chops, tone, and extremely fluid playing.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato